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Välkommen!

Nothing says välkommen quite like housemates who haven’t met you yet but all come out to pick you up at the airport anyway. You get back at 9pm, They show you around your room and the next day make you Swedish pancakes and smoothy for brunch.

I’ll spare you the accommodation search saga for now (mainly because I want to post about it somewhere that other disabled students moving to Sweden might actualy find it). Suffice to say, I couldn’t have asked for a more comforting end to saidt saga or a better first 24 hours in Sweden.

Is there a catch? I live 23 km from my classes, and a kilometre from the train station. My friend anna, who’s come to help me settle in, is patiently walking around with me answering a hundred questions as I learn to navigate.

We ventured into Gothenburg yesterday for the first time, and I found the proximity of the bike lanes to the pedestrian paths alarming. If I thought Auckland has a speedy/quiet escooters issue, it’s on steroids here. the noisier of the cars mask the sound of the bikes/scooters either entirely, or till they’re so close it’d be too late. the best i can do is to memorise where the bike lanes are in the areas I use regularly and buy more reflective clothing.

Another reason we paid a visit to Gothenburg was to pick up the piece of paper with my password for my student account yesterday. I need it in order to register for disability support. . No, the service centre can’t email you a log-in link. “I could post it to your address in New Zealand?” suggested the staffer, trying to be helpful.

Sweden has quite a range of administrative anomalies, I’m discovering. Getting a bank account is complicated if you’re here less than a year, multiple web pages caution. Figuring out what disability transport discounts you might be eligible for is, too.
***

 

 

I am standing in front of the lake

Anna and I went for a swim in a lake with one of our housemates after we got home yesterday. It reminded me palpably of the converted Cement Works back home near Warkworth in Aotearoa–a chilly but refreshing expanse of water. We also discovered a deliciously creamy flavour of chocolate brownie chunk ice cream.

I returned from brushing my teeth to my bedroom last night and thought I heard something moving in my bed, followed by a little snore. After freezing momemtarily, I realised it was only Molly, the affectionate purring machine, who hadn’t graced me with her presence since I’d arrived three days earlier.
***
The administrative side of moving to sweden may test my patience, and the orientation and navigation will test my concentration and adaptability, but I’m fairly sure I’ll be happy here, especially because I know where I can come home at the end of a long day.

By ainekc

Blind freelance writer/journalist and campaigner from aotearoa NZ.

10 replies on “Välkommen!”

We are so proud of your intrepid nature – I’m sure it must sometimes be terrifyingly difficult to navigate in new surroundings, but you manage to put your fear-factor on ‘hold’ it seems, and just try to figure out the best way around situations❣️ The bicycle/motor-bike paths are even tricky for the sighted. The drivers brook NO intrusion on their paths, and never seem to reduce their speed if you are ‘invading’ their zone!
So happy that you have, already, a ‘family’ Unit❣️ How wonderful it is in any new area to have people you know and who you can ask questions of, as well as just feel included!
We go to London around the 2nd week of October to teach the MicroMusicals in the schools. We are definitely coming to Gothenburg to see you either before we begin our work or after. Possibly more likely that it will be before as we want to see Chris’s family at the end before we return to Canada. When you settle in more, let us know if there is a day of the week that would work better for you and we can try to work around that!
Love you – and know that you will charm Gothenburg the way you’ve done in every place and situation you’ve been in❣️❣️❣️❣️❤️
Wendy & Chris xxxxxx

Liked by 2 people

Having a home away from home, rather than just a room to return to each day, will enable you to unwind from the stresses of the day and then recharge. After a good night’s sleep in your comfy bed, you will greet the new morning with a full battery. PS I Love the photo by the lake 😊

Liked by 1 person

Terrific read. Roomies ound lovely. I find myself trying to solve your bike lane issues and wonder if you wearing a flashing led light as an arm band (something I’ve seen cyclists do here (where our bike infrastructure is so incomplete or unsafe).
The cat in your bed scared me too the way you wrote it. Looking forward to reading more!

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